Another Euroleague season has passed, and this fan would like to thank Euroleague.TV for making the games available online via subscription program. Given the available resources, the Euroleague.TV people do an excellent job in covering their brand of basketball.
Living in Hungary, wherein consistent television coverage of any sport outside of soccer is fairly poor, this sports viewer has become something of a connoisseur of internet protocol television (IPTV). For two years running, i’ve subscribed to season passes to Euroleague.TV as well as NFL.wcom, American football’s network. This year, i’ve also signed up for MLB.TV, the IPTV broadcasting arm of America’s pro baseball league.
Naturally, i have a suggestion or seven for Euroleague.TV – i know, i know, some people are never satisfied…
I don’t mean to suggest here that Euroleague has anywhere near the budget or viewership of the American sport associations mentioned above, but all advice is given under the premise that Euroleague.TV might be willing to keep a few thousand seriously Devoted fans happy at €150 or so a pop (plus playoff package).
So this is just to say, Euroleague, i love you, but…
• Size does matter: Make it bigger! Two and three years ago when broadcasting games, NFL.com offered viewers the tiny picture only. The end result was three or four dudes attempting to crowd around the computer terminal and most giving up on trying to watch the game before halftime. Lack of full-screen view does not entice customers. You know how i turned my friend Jeff onto a NFL.com subscription this year after he’d experienced poor quality two years previously? With the full-screen view.
Or take the example of my friend Steve. As we bar-hopped during the Final Four games, he got totally into the games (“Hey, that’s Josh Childress’ team!”) and i could well imagine his NBA-worshipping self devoting some attention to Euroleague ball. Except that one time i was watching a game on Euroleague.TV, and he was not impressed. Again: Lack of full-screen view does not entice customers.
• No spoilers, please. Can the Euroleague folks somehow find a way not to make recent results obvious on the Euroleague.TV homepage, at least for a day or two? Seriously, this viewer, married with children, is often denied time to watch the games for at least 12 hours thereafter, if not 36. Please don’t give away the result.
Of course, nothing is as bad as MLB.TV’s “Go to Inning” feature, which allows you to skip ahead in the game if you don’t have time. (For those not in the know, baseball games can easily run three hours with lots of dead space among the action, and the dramatics often come toward the end of games.) Idiosyncratically, however, should you choose the “Go to Inning” feature, up pops … a scoreboard showing all the key game results. Thanks for that, MLB!
• Can we get updates on other games? Euroleague.TV would hardly benefit from a tacky CNN-like tickertape running across the bottom of the screen while games run, but geez, this is Euroleague! No matter what stage of the Euroleague basketball season is on, games which impact one another are often played more or less simultaneously. If my team is 3-0 but losing heartily going into the fourth quarter, wouldn’t I like to know what the 2-1 team/s in my pool is/are doing? Yes.
For those really militant about spoilers (see previous suggestion), perhaps a rundown of other games could be given during the quarter and halftime breaks so viewers can skip these bits conveniently. And speaking of the breaks…
• Do something at halftime. When Hungarian TV shows NFL football, the looooong halftime space is typically filled with commercials for future offerings on the network mixed in with highlight clips from American football games. No context is offered for the clips, which are of various lengths and appear to be edited together for no apparent reason; the music backing up the montage may be classic rock or modern-day rap. Or both, but nothing particularly football-y. The station may even present the same montage at halftime every week throughout the season.
But you know what? It’s exciting, and you watch it (almost) every time: “Look, dude. Here’s the one where Tom Brady just launches the pass.”
Couldn’t Euroleague.TV merely cut-and-paste their typically excellent highlight clips from previous weeks? Imagine how great a collection of great assists or thundering dunks would be by season’s end. Or highlight reels from classic games could be run – anything to entice new viewership to exciting b-ball, right?
Or better yet, why not use the time to push Euroleague.net? Entrants in contests like the “I feel Devotion” promotion could be shown, or ads like those created for “Where Exciting Happens” or whatever the hell the NBA motto is these days. Euroleague.TV, don’t be afraid to show off a quality product!
Whatever happens, that awful blank space at halftime must be replaced. Perhaps Euroleague.TV could find a director of halftime programming for a reasonable salary. (Why, yes, now that you mention it, i would be available…)
• Maybe a second man in the booth…? Sometimes the energy level from the broadcast booth runs a bit low, particularly in late pool play. How about jacking things up a bit with a broadcast partner? Think about how well the conversation flows with a second guy there during the Euroleague Final Four broadcasts, even if said second guy sometimes seems not to have done his homework on the teams or players.
Again, i know Euroleague.TV isn’t loaded with resources, but surely some basketball aficionado would be willing to lend an assist to the play-by-play guy for relatively cheap. (Sure, i could probably make myself available for this…)
• Provide a few English lessons. Or at least hire an English-language coach for the extant play-by-play guys. (Now that’s something i could definitely be available for … do you think i should try Craig’s List, maybe?)
Now look, i’m not going to criticize the linguistic skills of the Euroleague.TV broadcast team; as an American, my knowledge of second languages (Hungarian, French, German) is extremely tenuous at best and pathetic at worst, and so i have no ground to stand on.
Euroleague.TV has chosen English as its language of choice. Shouldn’t they work at perfecting this craft? Most of the voices of Euroleague.TV are fine, and two or three are very good. Laziness and mistakes can creep in through lack of formal lessons, and misuse can act as a stopper for those trying to learn the language or of a high level already.
(An example: During one Partizan game during Final 16 play, the announcer continually referred to “downloading the ball,” as in “Tripkovic downloads the ball to Lasme.” God knows where this gentlemen got the idea that the verb “to download” is somehow a synonym of “to pass to the low post player,” but such misuse is helpful to no one.)
• Don’t change a thing about cheerleader coverage. Watching Euroleague on TV – in this case, Hungary’s Sport Klub – was a serious bummer in one respect: Mere glimpses of the cheerleading squads were shown, and these appeared to have been shot from a blimp hovering over the arena.
Look, one thing American males – and i’m sure our European brethren are no different here – love about Continental game broadcasts is the Devotion to the lovely ladies. No joke, y’all: European cheerleaders are a revelation to us Yanks time after time. Yes, the role of the cheerleader is all about selling desire, etc. etc., but your girls are unapologetically sexy out there and great at what they do – American-style self-conscious coquettishness is refreshingly absent. Awesome.
Euroleague.TV, don’t touch this, please.
–written by Os Davis